“A Pledge for the New Genesis! Luffy and Uta!”
With a good bit established in that episode about the arrival of Uta and how she and Luffy managed to find a path to friendship, this episode gets to have some fun with it before the inevitable happens. This bit of retroactive continuity always had to go a certain way, of course, but it’s fun to see the lighter side of things with Luffy at this age once again after all the heavy seriousness of late. The simplicity of these two running around and doing silly things and nearly getting into trouble is fun, especially since the adults are completely aware of them. We also get the nod that helps to showcase more of the dynamic between Luffy and Shanks as he talks about it almost being time to set sail again and the concern from others is over how Luffy will take it. It’s a nice nod and just a reinforcement of that relationship which I always enjoy seeing being explored some as it’s so positive overall.
While Luffy has long wanted to be strong for a number of reasons to get out into the world, adding Uta as another piece is nice, though being unmentioned for years is just part of the whole retcon problem. But this kind of childhood romp is fun and the kind of thing that kids do forget about as time goes on and just kind of internalize, so seeing Luffy in his sad state afterward and how time changes is nicely done. What becomes amusing is that the back half gives us some nods to the other Straw Hats at a young age – not all, just some – while also playing up more elements for the film itself to set the stage and highlight what Shanks is up to. It’s some nice additional color to things overall and helps to build toward the film itself without being so blunt and problematic that non-film folks are lost. It’s just additional details and welcome nods to someone like me.
Luffy and Uta run across Windmill Village, compete with each other, and share their dreams with each other. They also pledge to build a new genesis for everyone to live happily. However, one day, the unexpected happens.
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